Relief as simplified travel rules are announced

"The changes make life so much easier for our clients to travel and us to sell holidays."

No more amber list countries from October 4
No more amber list countries from October 4

Travel agents across the region have breathed a sigh of relief to the news of the travel traffic light system and testing rules in England being simplified from Monday, October 4.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes would replace the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world as striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority.

The changes will see the traffic light system changed to highlight just red and green list countries and also ensure that fully vaccinated people returning to England from non-red list countries will no longer need to take PCR tests.

They will also no longer need to take pre-departure tests, but will be asked to take a lateral flow test on arrival.

Additionally, eight countries are coming off the red list from 4am on Wednesday, September 22, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives.

Across the region, travel agents have been taking in the news and looking at how it affects them going forwards.

Ryan Cattell, assistant manager at Hays Travel in Walsall, said he was delighted at the news and said simplification was best for all involved.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps aims to simplify foreign travel with the new rules

He said: "I think the news is very positive as I know a lot of people had been put off with the price of the testing and the faff of having to do testing, so they may not have wanted to travel as a result.

"It was the same with the traffic light system as it kept changing with amber countries going red and green countries going amber, so simplifying it will make it so much easier to understand.

"There's quite a lot of steps at the moment to travel, with testing on departure and when you get back, so there's been a lot to worry about and it's all been very stressful for people.

"I do think business will pick back up as the prices of holidays are very cheap at the moment due to the current climate, so I think we'll see more people coming through our doors for holidays soon."

Leon's Holidays in Stafford has cancelled its foreign excursions for the rest of the year, but said the changes would make things easier for them to sell holidays in 2022.

A spokesman for Leon's said: "I think the changes will make life easier for people to travel as it eliminates the issues of paying for PCR tests when you get home if you're double-jabbed.

"We've obviously looking for next year with our holidays, but the simplification of the rules means we can begin to plan for things in 2022.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty in the market at present, but we're looking forward to moving on."

Kim Kent, manager at Spear Travels in Wolverhampton, said she was overjoyed to hear the news, describing as the best news for the industry.

She said: "It's great news for the industry and as long as we can keep people safe, then it's great news for customers to travel again because it's been so complicated and has put people off.

"We all wanted the government to simplify the travel restrictions so that people could understand what was required of them to go to different countries and to come back into the UK.

"I know that people want to travel more as we've been taking bookings all day, helping people to understand the restrictions, so it's wonderful to see the rules being simplified to help people.

"I know there's still restrictions in those countries if you want to travel, but it's good to know a more simple approach is in place."

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